Gingerbread mania

Our daughter's birthday party was very successful. I judge success in the following ways.

- I had everything done before the party started.
- Children (and some parents) came.
- They ate and drank happily, with no cordial and only marshmallows as lollies on the table. Yes, there was other food...
- They made and decorated their cookies with enthusiasm and enjoyed the games.
- They went home.
- The house got cleaned up and I sat and watched a video for the rest of the evening.
- My daughter beamed the entire day.

One of our activities was making, baking and decorating gingerbread cookies. My sister-in-law, who is American, wanted to know the logic behind calling these 'cookies' when we call every other type of sugary/wheaty snack 'biscuits'. (I think it is to do with the idea of it being home-made, but my mother pointed to the ongoing Americanization of our language...) Sister-in-law has recently become an Australian citizen, but is yet to master the finer points of culture.

Today some parents of the party-goers complimented me on the taste of the cookies. They must have pinched them out of the children's bags when they were asleep. For the record, here's the recipe:

115g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
115/4oz brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
115/4oz golden syrup
400g/14oz self-raising flour
5ml/1 tsp ground ginger
2.5ml/1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.5ml/1/4 tsp chilli powder*

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and golden syrup. Soft in dry ingredients. Gradually mix to make a stiff paste. Turn out onto a board and knead gently until smooth. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Then bake at 180C for 10-15 mins until golden brown.

We're away for four days. See you all soon!

*The secret ingredient is the chilli. It adds a beautiful little bite to the ginger.